Ohio Athletes Day Three Recap
Mitch Supan earned All-America as a freshman.
BEREA, OHIO – Nearly an all cheese/buckeye final surfaced in the men’s discus event in the NCAA Division III National Track and Field Championships here today at The George Finnie Stadium in Berea.
Four of the men who qualified for the top nine out of the semis came from an assortment of colleges in Wisconsin and four others came from Ohio schools, northeastern Ohio ones to be exact. The ninth in the finals was a fellow from Augustana College (Ill.).
Mount Union’s Judd Lutz and Sean Denard threw well enough in today’s preliminaries to join host Baldwin Wallace’s Kevin Phipps and Mitch Supan in the finals.
All four young men from here attained All-American status for their work today and throughout the season by avoiding finishing ninth in the finals. On a day hot enough for any cheese brick to melt, the Wisconsin schools got only three in the top eight, leaving the Buckeye State as the more All-American of the two, at least as far as discus throwing goes.
Phipps wound up finishing sixth in the nation, just a couple days after he placed in the hammer throw, making him a double All-American on the weekend.
“Just as it was the other day; I wanted more but was still happy to have done as well as I did today,” said Phipps. “I was also happy for Mitch, Judd and Sean. We have all been competing with and against one another all season and it was great for us all get up on the podium together.”
Supan, who grew up in nearby Medina and is a Walsh Jesuit alumnus, is brand new to the national level since he is only a freshman for the Yellow Jackets.
“The Ohio Athletic Conference is very good for this event so it is not surprising that four of us from the league not only made it here but also into the finals,” said Supan, who finished eighth. “I was rooting for Kevin and Judd and Sean, just as the Mount guys were for us. I am happy with getting this far on my first try. I did not tell too many of my friends from Medina or high school that I was doing this, but still I did get a lot of support from the stands.”
Each time one of the four would step up to the cage, the large roar came from the crowd of 300 people gathered around the throwing field, larger than for any of the out-of-state competitors.
“It’s not that hard to get up here from Mount so we had quite a few friends from school make it to support us,” said Denard, who finished one notch ahead of Supan in the finals. “We see BW in a lot of events and have competed here so the familiarity sure helped.”
Lutz, who finished second in the nation, also made it in the shot put, but failed to make it out of yesterday’s semifinals.
“The discus is my better event,” said Lutz, who was a finalist for the Gagliardi Trophy, which goes to the all-around football in the country each year. “We were here for a meet earlier this year so we know the surface and the surroundings here. All my national team championships and qualifications make me feel more accomplished than the Gagliardi nomination since that one is more individual.”
This was Lutz’s 10th time to the highest level nationally – four times to the Stagg Bowl with the football team, four times to nationals in outdoor track and twice in indoor track.
“I won’t get bored now that college is done since I will be teaching and coaching,” said Lutz, who will be certified to teach grades 7-12 in math. “I want to take the children I teach to the highest levels they have the potential to get to.”
It certainly was a team effort for Mount Union, with Aubree Jones also qualifying in the discus but joining Broadview Heights native and Ohio Wesleyan senior Sharon Rymut in not making out of today’s semis.
“It helped that three of us from one school could all make it to the nationals like this,” said Jones. “Sean and Judd have been like second and third coaches to me. They have helped me out a lot in all of my events. It was a good experience getting here despite not doing better than I did.”
Cloverleaf High alumnus and Medina native Cory Beebe, who runs for Salisbury University, repeated as the national champion in the 400-meter hurdles and took sixth in the 110 hurdles. He left it all on the course in the 400, repeating his activity from Thursday’s semis and tossing his cookies five minutes after the race.
“I do it every time after I finish a 400,” Beebe said. “My stomach just turns within a few minutes after the race. I’ve made all kinds of dietary changes but it still seems to happen. I wish I could be good at something else so I wouldn’t have to go through this each time. It has gotten better. It only happens after the race and never during it.”
Trinity High alumna Elise Johnson finished second in the women’s 100 hurdles for Williams College.
“I am so excited to finish in second,” said Johnson, who is the daughter of the late Eddie Johnson, who had an athletic career with the Cleveland Browns of the National Football League. “My middle school track coach, Mr. Davidson, was standing at the corner of the track when I came in this morning. I was so surprised to see him here. It brought back great memories from running on this track in seventh grade.”
Johnson attended Ford Middle School in nearby Brook Park and spent a year at Midpark High before transferring to Trinity.
Chardon native Erin Hollinger finished 10th in the high jump for Case Western Reserve, while the Spartans’s Elaine Simpson took 18th in the 5,000-meter run.